Former babysitter/foster parent accused of raping children

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MT. HEALTHY — A babysitter arrested Thursday for allegedly raping two children years ago will also be investigated for any possible problems during her time as a Hamilton County foster parent.

The two children Barbara Brooks stands accused of raping between 2000 and 2003 were kids for whom she babysat, not foster children. They are now 18 and 23 and recently came forward with information about what they say happened to them in Brooks’ house.

Because Brooks was a foster parent during that same time period, the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services is researching how many foster children she cared for and when, said Brian Gregg, spokesman for the agency. That information will be given to police, he said, so they can determine if any other children might have been involved in any abuse.

Brooks, 62, was a foster parent from 1996 to 2008. The county stopped using her as a foster parent after she was accused of abusing a foster child in her care, Gregg said. Both JFS and police investigated that allegation and couldn’t find enough evidence, he said. Brooks was not charged, but the county “had enough concern” that it stopped placing foster children with her, Gregg said, just to be safe.

“We conducted our own investigation as we do in every allegation of abuse,” he said. “While we couldn’t get enough evidence to prove anything, we took the same action we would have taken if we had -- we stopped using her as a foster parent and shared our findings with police.”

Brooks remained in jail Friday in lieu of posting $100,000 bond. She denies the allegations and hasn’t worked as a babysitter for at least the last three years because she suffers from severe asthma, said her lawyer, Suellen Brafford of Batavia.

“She’s never been arrested in her life,” Brafford said of her client. “She hasn’t had contact with (the children) for years.”

Brooks allegedly forced the children to have sex with her inside her Martin Street residence in Mount Healthy, Cincinnati police wrote in court records.

Detectives referred calls on the case to a spokesman for Cincinnati police, who said they are trying to gather information on the case.

Sonya Hudson, Brooks’ daughter, called the allegations “a bunch of crap.”

The woman who was caring for the children, who are siblings, has a longtime grudge against Brooks, Hudson said.

“I feel like it didn’t happen,” Hudson, 38, said. “Why didn’t somebody say something back then?”

Hudson said she didn’t know anything about the 2008 sex abuse complaint and didn’t know why her mother stopped being a foster parent.

During Brooks’ brief court appearance, two of her relatives shouted out in the audience.

Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Melissa Powers charged both women with contempt of court, saying she had warned the audience not to make any outbursts during proceedings.

When one of the women started to argue, Powers threatened her with another 30 days in jail.